Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Xbox 360 Review
Publisher – Activision – Developer – High Moon Studios – Genre – Action – Players – 1-12 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3
Whilst High Moon studios’ previous Transformers game, Transformers: Dark of the Moon was passable, their earlier offering, Transformers: War for Cybertron, however, was a memorable and accomplished title and was the best use of the licence since Atari’s and Melbourne House’s well regarded Transformers on the PS2, proving that given the time and resources the developer has the capabilities to do justice to the iconic licence.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is the sequel to War for Cybertron and takes place following the events of the earlier game, continuing the civil war between the Autobots and the Decepticons, as they battle on their dying planet of Cybertron. The devastation of the planet is effectively conveyed throughout, with sections burning, electrics sparking and just a general mess offering you the sense that the planet is a bit more than worse for wear.
Much like War for Cybertron, you’ll see the conflict from the perspective of both the Autobots and the Deceptions throughout the course of the campaign, which is not only an effective storytelling device, but also gives you the chance to take charge of a varied assortment of lumbering robots.
The likes of Optimus Prime, Starscream, Grimlock, Cliffjumper and Jazz are amongst the playable characters that are on offer. They each have an ability, that is not necessary unique to them and Cliffjumper, with his cloaking ability for instance, gives you the option of taking out enemies silently, offering a welcome break from the shooting that makes up the lion’s share of the game. Jazz, meanwhile, has a grappling hook, allowing you to propel him to certain points of the environment, whilst Grimlock brandishes a gargantuan sword and shield combo, with which you can quickly lay waste to your enemies with.
Some may bemoan the fact that they can’t be in charge of their favourite Transformer for the entirety of the campaign, whilst the co-op play from the first game is absent. There’s no denying that the structure of the game has allowed for a reasonable level of variation throughout however.
Obviously, as it’s a Transformers game you also have the option of transforming into a vehicle, increasing your mobility, serving as a way to quickly retreat to cover to allow your diminished shield to recharge and offering the advantage of more robust armour, though sadly the environments are often so compact that it’s rarely necessary to transform, leaving it as somewhat of a wasted opportunity of offering an authentic Transformers experience on a mechanical level.
The campaign is otherwise typical of the genre. It’s a linear journey through often bland corridors, though with accomplished shooting mechanics and unspectacular enemy AI. Despite always being in charge of giant metal monstrosities, you’re surprisingly able to sustain little damage before you transform into a useless pile of metal, requiring you to make liberal use of cover.
The only time it really manages to slightly rise above such predictability is with some interesting and exciting uses of the multiple perspectives, of which it would be churlish of me to go into much more detail here.
The class based multiplayer meanwhile is in regards to its modes fairly generic, with the likes of team death match, capture the flag, horde (here titled Escalation) and the expected XP system and challenges are also included. It’s largely efficient enough, though the maps could certainly benefit from being a bit more interesting. However the ability to shape shift between two forms offers a somewhat unique slant to proceedings and transforming feels like more of a necessity than it does in the campaign. You’re also able to unlock robot parts to put together your own robot with, of which is an appreciated addition.
Those that expect Transformers: Fall of Cybertron to do anything to transform the genre will come away disappointed at just how little its inner circuitry has changed since the first game, though many fans of Transformers will be willing to overlook such familiarity thanks to it being a rare thing, a Transformers game that has been constructed with care, attention and quite clearly a great deal of love for the enduring licence.